Republicans – Knox Democrats Wed, 15 Sep 2021 13:15:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Republicans – Knox Democrats 32 32 Colorado Republican Central Committee Should Keep Primary, Drop Plots Wed, 15 Sep 2021 12:00:37 +0000

Despite the potential for Colorado Republicans to win in 2022, a group of self-proclaimed “principled” Republican activists are determined to embroil the party in stolen electoral conspiracy theories and alienate the 1.6 million uninvited voters. affiliates who represent 43% of the electorate.

Which is a shame given that Democrats have left the political door wide open for Republican victories.

President Joe Biden’s confused incompetence catches up with the tragic human disasters in Afghanistan and on the southern border. Inflation is on the rise as a result of rampant federal spending. Crime is skyrocketing across the country as Democratic majorities in Congress, including American senses Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, curl up in fear of a demented left that seeks to fund the police and pamper criminals.

Here in Colorado, Governor Jared Polis shamefully allowed our Colorado State Capitol to be vandalized night after night by rioters without any comment from him for days let alone any effort to protect this historic building. Polis presided over the gross negligence of his health department which, according to a Colorado Public Radio investigation, likely resulted in hundreds of preventable care home deaths from COVID-19. Meanwhile, the Department of Labor and Employment was a bureaucratic mess when tens of thousands of Coloradans needed to access their unemployment benefits due to COVID shutdowns. Crime is rampant in the Denver subway, and homeless camps are taking over sidewalks and parks.

Republicans are virtually unanimous in supporting President Donald Trump’s consequential achievements such as historic tax cuts and deregulation that have spurred massive economic growth; make more than 200 conservative judicial appointments – including three to the United States Supreme Court – that will impact the federal justice system for decades; and finally to gain control of illegal immigration at the southern border.

But Trump squandered that record of achievement by refusing to accept defeat, fanning the flames of stolen electoral conspiracy theories, and his shameful behavior in the Jan.6 attack on the United States Capitol.

Sadly, a large number of Republican activists across the state are more interested in fighting the 2020 presidential election than they claim to have been stolen. They refuse to accept the fact that former President Donald Trump lost not because of voter fraud, but because of his own actions and words which alienated many voters who voted for him in 2016.

Trump increased his percentage of Hispanic and black voters across the country, but those numbers were more than offset by the hemorrhaging of voters in previously Republican suburbs, including here in Colorado.

These Republican activists embrace the ever-evolving conspiracy theories that cross the political horizon to be discredited until the next one can be brought up.

Many of them are convinced the election was stolen from Trump here in Colorado despite public polls showing his disapproval rating was in his 50s and he lost the state by 14 points. And he was strongly hated by the hundreds of thousands of new voters, largely young and unaffiliated, who have moved here over the past decade.

Now, the Republican State of Colorado Central Committee will vote on Sept. 18 on whether or not to cancel the 2022 Republican primary elections and give a few thousand activists the power to nominate Republican candidates in caucuses and national assemblies. uncrowded party rather than in primary elections where hundreds of thousands vote for party candidates.

Unaffiliated voters have exploded in recent years and now represent 43% of the electorate while Democrats have 29% and Republicans only 26%. If Colorado Republicans cancel the primary election, 1.6 million unaffiliated voters will not receive a Democratic ballot until the 2022 primary.

Restricting the ability of 1.6 million unaffiliated voters to vote in the Republican primary, let alone 1 million Republicans who will not attend party caucuses, is not the way to build a campaign that can win general elections.

When Wayne Allard, then a congressman, asked me to manage his campaign for the US Senate in 1996, he said something very clear:

“I don’t want to be just the Republican candidate. I want to be the next US Senator from Colorado. Everything we do and say to win the primary must be done with the goal of attracting the unaffiliated voters that we will need to win the general election, otherwise the nomination is not worth the effort.

Allard was clearly the underdog of the Republican nomination against a respected attorney general. After winning that primary, Colorado Democrats dismissed the Loveland vet as a definite loser to the powerful and wealthy Denver 17th Street lawyer-lobbyist who would spend more than Allard in the general election.

Contrary to what some conservative activists today seem to think, it was not easy to win a prominent position statewide, even then. When Allard ran in 1996, Colorado Republicans had lost 11 of 14 governor and senatorial elections between 1972 and 1994. Only US Senator Bill Armstrong in 1978 and 1984 and US Senator Hank Brown in 1990 won. that time.

But Allard ran on a traditional Republican agenda to reduce tax and regulatory burdens on families and small businesses, balance the federal budget, and return power to state and local governments, a program that would attract, rather than repel. , the very unaffiliated. voters we needed to win. And we contrasted very aggressively the personal antecedents of the two candidates, “the vet versus the lobbyist”.

Two years later, in 1998, state treasurer Bill Owens adopted the Allard model and broke the Democratic six-game winning streak for governor by also crafting an effective program to cut taxes, reform the education and improve transport. Owens won a tough primary over a respected state Senate president and became the first Republican governor to be elected in 28 years. He remains the only Republican governor for the past 50 years.

Allard and Owens were re-elected in 2002, but since then Republicans have lost 9 of 10 elections for governor and senator, the lone winner being U.S. Senator Cory Gardner who toppled Democratic incumbent Mark Udall in 2014. Gardner has been overthrown in 2020 in Trump’s anti-landslide.

Several of those nine elections were highly winnable, but the Republican candidates failed by waging an unruly campaign that made politically fatal mistakes, or waging a narrow ideological campaign that pushed out unaffiliated voters, or by failing to set an agenda. clear and dominant conservative who could win a primary. and a general election.

Not once in the 19 years that I worked for United States Senator Bill Armstrong, United States Senator Hank Brown, United States Senator Wayne Allard, and Governor Bill Owens have I heard any of them say hitting the chest as morally superior or declaring themselves “in principle” while attacking other Republicans as unworthy if they disagreed on certain issues.

They understood that politics is the art of addition, not of subtraction. They didn’t need to boast of being “principled”. They have shown it every day during their campaigns and in the way they have served their state and nation in power.

Conspiracy theories and restricted access to the nomination process are sure losers for Colorado Republicans in 2022.

Dick Wadhams is a former President of the Republican State of Colorado who worked for American Senses Bill Armstrong, Hank Brown, Wayne Allard, and Governor Bill Owens.

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Texas Republicans quietly cut penalties for honest voting errors Sat, 11 Sep 2021 04:07:30 +0000 Republican priority voting reforms and restrictions signed last week added a number of new election-related offenses and increased criminal penalties for others, all of which have been hotly debated this summer.

But one of these major provisions has received little attention.

The bill lowered the criminal offense for illegal voting from a second degree felony to a class A felony, the latter punishable by up to one year in prison.

It also made a slight change to require that a person accused of illegal voting does so either “knowingly”, as the law currently states, or “intentionally”.

The provisions could impact ongoing cases that have ignited debate over the bill, including that of Crystal Mason, a Black Fort Worth woman who faces five years in state prison for illegally filing a ballot. provisional vote – which was never counted – although she said she had not. to know that she was not entitled to vote.

In another high-profile case that could be affected, Hervis Rogers, a black man from Houston this year, has been charged with illegal voting after making national headlines for his six-hour wait in line in the primary election of 2020.

The ACLU, whose attorneys among other members of the legal team represent both Mason and Rogers, could not be reached for comment.

The illegal voting offense accounts for nearly half of the Texas Attorney General’s office pending voter fraud cases, around 20, though most are linked to an alleged illegal voting system in a mayoral election Edinburgh in 2017. The office also did not respond to a request. for comment.

The changes came from an amendment by State Representative Steve Allison, R-San Antonio, on the House floor in late August. Allison was not available for an interview, but her chief of staff, Rocky Gage, said Allison wanted to make sure people who accidentally vote illegally were not charged. The amendment was not designed specifically with Mason’s case in mind, Gage said, but rather to solve the general problem.

“The main reason for tabling this document – Rep. Allison, he and other members thought it was important to establish that ‘intention’,” Gage said. “There is a lot of talk – (the state representative) Diego Bernal, for example, said:” If I help my grandmother, and I don’t know (it’s illegal), now I have troubles. So we thought to address these concerns – there is a need to address these concerns.

“I think the members understood this was important,” Gage said.

Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan, who is a founding member of the bipartisan House Criminal Justice Reform Caucus, said the provision was part of the legislature’s “holistic approach to advancing the integrity of elections “which struck” the appropriate balance between access to the ballot and accountability “.

Lowering the sentence will protect voters who make innocent mistakes and help state lawyers stay focused on the few really bad actors, said C. Robert Heath, an election lawyer who served under the Democratic attorney general from Texas John Hill in the 1970s.

“Laws are more easily enforced when they are more reasonable,” said Heath. “Most of the people who vote illegally, and I don’t think there are very many, do so because they are confused or don’t understand the law.”

Regardless of the sanction, Heath said there was a reason cases of voter fraud were so rare.

“Whether it’s a misdemeanor or a felony, it’s high risk and low reward,” he said. “If you want to change the result, this is a very unusual situation, and a vote will not do it. You’re going to need a lot of votes.

Still, some Republicans say any sanctions relief in the Election Code is a mistake. Among them is Andrew Eller, a 25-year-old election judge in Bell County, who has argued for tougher penalties for judges who refuse poll observers.

“I think tougher penalties are always the best for illegal voting,” Eller said in an interview on Friday. “When a person votes illegally, they withdraw someone else’s legal vote. If you do it knowingly, that should be a higher standard.

Mason’s case was at one point a sticking point between the Texas House and the Senate. The bill was one step away from passage if the Senate were to accept the House’s changes, but the bill’s author, Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, said he was not agree with a House amendment intended to clarify the law in cases like Mason’s.

The amendment, a bipartisan effort by Representatives Briscoe Cain, R-Deer Park, and John Bucy III, D-Austin, would have clarified that a person must not only know the circumstances that made him or her ineligible, but also that those circumstances applied to her. .

The Fort Worth Court of Appeal, in affirming Mason’s conviction, argued that the state had only to prove that she had voted while knowing the condition that made her ineligible: that she was in federal probation at the time.

A conference committee made up of members from both houses was convened with instructions from Hughes to withdraw the amendment and did so. Neither Hughes nor House author, Representative Andrew Murr, R-Junction, responded to a request for comment.

The House then passed a resolution, a formal expression of opinion that does not have the force of law, that said members oppose prosecution of Texans who mistakenly vote without knowing they are ineligible. Phelan noted that the resolution “was passed by an overwhelming majority.”

Chuck DeVore, vice president of national initiatives at the right-wing Texas Public Policy Foundation, said that while the organization has not taken a specific position on this provision, it supports another part of Senate Bill 1 that obliges the courts to inform criminals. of their right to vote in the event of conviction. Mason was on probation and Rogers was on parole when they tried to vote.

“It’s no shock to me because I don’t think a lot of people, frankly, want to see these very rare cases prosecuted,” DeVore said, referring to cases involving voters making honest mistakes.

DeVore pointed to data from the Attorney General’s office which shows that only four cases over 16 years involved a voter who was not eligible to vote.

“The impression was that members of both parties weren’t really enthusiastic about this kind of punishment,” he said.

One of the main priorities of Republicans this session was a section creating a specific criminal sanction for harvesting votes, illegally forcing people to vote in a certain way in return for compensation or some other benefit. , which is now a third degree felony.

DeVore added that, combined with this provision, reducing the offense of “illegal voting” makes sense.

“You want to sue the people who actually run these programs, rather than the people who have been brought in as, in many cases, ‘dupes’ to participate,” DeVore said. “I’m not particularly concerned about the 20 people who end up in one of these schemes and who each get $ 10.”

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letter: republicans want autocracy | Opinion letters Wed, 08 Sep 2021 10:15:00 +0000

After the “9-11” tragedy, America and Partners sued Bin Laden in Afghanistan. In “2003” “W” took a left turn to introduce Iraq with all the strength and fury of the US military; it was the war that should never have been. If we had hit Afghanistan with the same intensity, we would have come out in three to five years and today the country would be free. Every president from Bush to Biden has reaffirmed that a day will come when we will leave. Trump and Pompeo negotiated the “withdrawal” with the Taliban and went snooker, but their efforts were approved by the GOP. No one could have predicted the rapid collapse of the Afghan military and these same Republicans now disparage Biden for the way things turned out, however, having remained completely silent when Trump abandoned the Kurds in a rapid withdrawal and unexpected from US forces. Regardless of who had been president, the Afghan exit would have gone badly under the circumstances.

When things go well, Republicans take credit for it and when they do badly, they blame Democrats in general and the President in particular. There is nothing “Grand Old Party” anymore. They haven’t had any original ideas or done anything for the American people since the presidency of HW Bush who represented all Americans and for whom I voted twice. During the HW presidency, Democrats and Republicans called themselves “worthy opposition.” The Republican Party has swayed more and more to the right since the advent of Newt Gingrich. Besides tax cuts for the rich, what have they done for America? They will gerrymander, they will pass a voter suppression law, and do whatever they can to turn America into a one-party autocracy.

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Second Republican to challenge Pat Gerard at Pinellas County Commission Wed, 01 Sep 2021 13:00:03 +0000

A second Republican has asked the Pinellas County Commission for District 2 general seat to challenge incumbent Democrat Pat Gerard in the November 2022 election.

Brian Scott, president of the charter bus company Escot Bus Lines, founded by his parents in 1983, announced his campaign against Gerard on Wednesday.

Scott, 53, said in a statement that he had had to fight to keep his family and business alive during the coronavirus pandemic and that he wanted to bring “that same determination to the Pinellas County Commission”.

“Now is the time to advocate for concrete policies that foster a thriving small business community, improve public health and safety, and preserve the unique quality of life we ​​enjoy in Pinellas County,” said Scott.

Scott previously served on the boards of the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority and the Pinellas County Parks and Conservation Advisory Board.

He joins Debbie Buschman in the Republican primary. The general seat is voted throughout the county in general elections.

Buschman, 52, is the lunch coordinator for Pinellas County Public Schools and previously worked as a tax assistant for the Pinellas-Pasco Public Defender’s Office. She was elected to the Palm Harbor District Fire and Rescue Special Commission in 2012.

Gérard, 71, has not yet applied but has confirmed with the Tampa Bay Times she plans to run for a third term. Prior to his election to the commission in 2014, Gerard served 14 years on the City of Largo Commission, the last eight as the city’s first female mayor.

Gérard served as chairman of the commission in 2020, leading those responsible during the coronavirus pandemic and the mask mandate that was in place for 11 months to stem the spread of COVID-19.

Along with Gerard, District 4 Commissioner Dave Eggers and District 6 Commissioner Kathleen Peters will be re-elected next year.

Peters, a Republican, has applied for a second term and has so far not attracted a challenger. Eggers, a Republican, confirmed he plans to run again. No other candidate has so far applied.

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Private funding was key to some 2020 elections. Republicans banned it in nearly a dozen states. Sat, 28 Aug 2021 12:15:48 +0000

By Fredreka Schouten, CNN

Patty Hansen, who helped run an election in Coconino County, Ariz., For 17 years, spun out spending last year.

She ran radio and newspaper ads in English and Navajo, promoting voting options. She hired 19 additional temporary workers to help Navajo Nation residents register to vote and vote, up from three she normally employs in a typical election year. And she set up pop-up spots at trading posts and gas stations where residents could cast their ballots.

A grant of $ 614,000 from a then little-known nonprofit, the Center for Tech and Civic Life, aided these efforts.

It paid off: Turnout in the vast county crossed by the Grand Canyon has jumped to nearly 82%, from around 75% four years earlier.

“We were really proud,” Hansen told CNN. “The 2020 election was the most difficult election I have ever participated in, but it was the only election where I had enough money to do what we wanted to do.”

But accepting outside funding is now against the law for Hansen and all other election officials in this battlefield state. Arizona is one of at least 11 Republican-led states that have banned or restricted the use of private funding in future elections, as partisan warfare over the 2020 presidential election spreads to nearly every aspects of electoral administration.

Other states that have passed laws this year to ban or limit private election funding include Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, North Dakota, Ohio , Tennessee and Texas. And Kansas law goes further, making it a felony for a government official to accept or spend private money to help run an election.

The push to ban private money – aided by 2021 legislative manuals written by Heritage Action for America and other conservative groups – stems, in part, from Republican suspicion of the source of 2020 funding: the founder of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan. The couple donated $ 350 million to the Center for Tech and Civic Life to help election officials and voters safely navigate the coronavirus pandemic last year.

Bias argument

Republicans argue the social media giant Zuckerberg oversees is suppressing conservative voices. And they called the grants skewing voter turnout in Democratic areas in a way that helped Biden ascend to the White House.

Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett, who co-chairs a commission on electoral integrity established by the Republican State Leadership Committee, is among the critics of private funding. The commission encouraged states to ban this practice.

“It really opens the door to some bad things,” he said of private election grants.

“Let’s say someone is on the ballot or someone who is close to someone who is on the ballot says, ‘I’m going to put half a million dollars or a million dollars in a field specific, “” said Hargett. “It could really tip the balance towards voter turnout in some areas and put others at a disadvantage.”

Grant administrators deny any political bias in their 2020 actions. In total, grants totaling more than $ 340 million were made to nearly 2,500 election offices in 49 states, including 1,300 to election agencies that served less than 25,000 registered voters, according to officials at the Center for Tech and Civic Life.

“Every election service that applied to the Covid-19 response grant program received a grant,” said Tiana Epps-Johnson, executive director of the center.

Ben LaBolt, spokesperson for Zuckerberg and Chan, said neither had participated “in the process of determining which jurisdictions have received funds” and noted that the centre’s status as a charitable organization in nonprofit prohibited him “from engaging in partisan activities.”

Zuckerberg also said the funding was a one-time effort to help local officials deal with the unprecedented challenge of holding an election amid the pandemic. It supports public funding.

Despite this, Republican lawmakers in some key states are pushing forward bills to ensure that the distribution of so-called “Zuck bucks” to local election offices – or the equivalent – never happens again.

A bill pending in North Carolina, for example, would prohibit the use of private funds for the conduct of elections or “the employment of persons on a temporary basis” to assist.

However, other legislative efforts have encountered obstacles.

Earlier this summer, Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evers vetoed a measure approved by the Republican-controlled legislature that would have banned local and state governments from accepting most election grants without permission from the state electoral commission.

The proposal would also have required Wisconsin to distribute the money across the state on a per capita basis.

Claire Woodall-Vogg, executive director of the Milwaukee Election Commission, said her community needed a bigger grant. She said the $ 3.4 million in private dollars helped her pay allowances to election workers last year, buy seven additional tabulators for mail-in ballots and rent two more. The equipment proved crucial, she said, on election night as her office processed a flood of postal ballots.

Wisconsin law prohibits election officials from getting a head start on the processing and counting of postal ballots. This work cannot begin before 7 a.m. on polling day. Without the additional tabulators, she said, “it would have taken days and days to count the postal ballots.”

His office delivered its final results to Milwaukee County at 3:30 a.m. the day after the election, Woodall-Vogg said.

Calls for more public funding

Local officials have “ongoing funding issues” that need to be addressed, including the cost of maintaining election materials, said Susan Gill, retired Florida County Election Officer who chairs the National Association of Election Officials.

She said local authorities were using private grants “for very good purposes.”

States receive federal election funding pots. Last year, Congress provided $ 400 million in emergency funding to help run an election during the pandemic – far less than the roughly $ 4 billion that liberal-leaning Brennan Center for Justice election experts have estimated might be needed.

And the federal government has distributed over $ 800 million in recent years to help election officials improve security and guard against cyber attacks and other threats. (A recent report by the United States Electoral Assistance Commission found that much had not been spent as of September 30, 2020, according to the most recent data available.)

The Center for Tech and Civic Life helped launch an “electoral infrastructure initiative” to urge Congress to provide a steady flow of money – $ 20 billion over a decade – to help modernize elections, the lion’s share going to local departments. (So ​​far, this has not been successful. The money has not been included in a $ 1 trillion infrastructure bill that the Senate approved this month.)

Charles Stewart, a political scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and expert in electoral administration, said the use of private money for a basic government function added an “improper … bake sale for democracy” element to the 2020 election .

But he said some states appear to be rushing to cut private funds without also trying to figure out what the level of public funding is adequate for the elections to run smoothly and appropriate the money to do so.

Back in Arizona, Hansen, a Democrat, said she was disappointed with the ban and will likely have to reduce voter awareness.

“I don’t understand it. We can show where we spent the money, ”she said. “Frankly, I’d much rather take money from a nonprofit, if they’re willing to give it to us, than put taxpayer dollars in it.

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A Herschel Walker candidacy is a total nightmare for Senate Republicans Tue, 24 Aug 2021 17:04:00 +0000 Walker’s move from Texas, where he has lived for decades, to Georgia suggests he is likely to run for the seat currently held by Senator Raphael Warnock. And, given Walker’s high name – mostly derived from his celebrity years in football – and former President Donald Trump’s vocal support for his candidacy, Walker would immediately be the front-runner for the GOP nomination.

And that’s a BIG problem for Republicans.

While it’s impossible to predict exactly how a campaign between Warnock and Walker would unfold, what is clear is that the former NFL star would enter the race from this starting point. This reality has already led some Republican strategists close to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to denounce the dangers of Walker’s appointment.

“It’s about as complete a teardown that I’ve ever read”, tweeted Josh Holmes, a longtime McConnell adviser, earlier this month in AP history. “My lord.”
McConnell himself has yet to speak out publicly against Walker but, according to sources cited by CNN, has made his reservations very clearly in private. CNN’s Manu Raju, Alex Rogers and Mike Warren wrote earlier this month:
Senatorial Minority Leader Mitch McConnell suggested to allies that former Georgia senators David Lost and Kelly loeffler should reconsider their candidacy, according to three sources familiar with the matter, after their small losses in January tipped the Senate under Democratic control. “

The problem for McConnell is that – as I noted above – if Walker is a candidate, he has a very good chance of being the party’s candidate given his fame and the very likely support he will have. of the former president. (In March, Trump released a statement that said in part, “He would be unstoppable, just like he was when he played for the Georgia Bulldogs and in the NFL. He’s a GREAT person too. Quotes Herschel, Classes ! )

Given the current power dynamics within the Republican Party, it’s not at all clear that a McConnell-backed candidate like Loeffler or Perdue can defeat Walker – even with the various issues I’ve documented above. surrounding it.

Which would then mean that in one of the best GOP pickup opportunities in the country, the party would present a candidate who is an opposition scholar’s dream – not to mention someone who has never run for office. post before 2022.

If this scenario comes true, it will have implications far beyond Georgia. Republicans only need one seat to regain control of the Senate in 2023. And Georgia, with the narrow margin of victory for Warnock and President Joe Biden in 2020, tops the pickup list. potentials. Lose Georgia, and Republicans must find a pickup elsewhere – in places like Arizona, where Senator Mark Kelly looks very strong, or New Hampshire, where essentially all GOP hopes rest on the potential governor’s candidacy. Chris Sununu.

In short, Senate Republicans are not in a position where they can simply write off one of their best pickup chances without feeling the impact elsewhere in the country. And while no one has to say conclusively that Walker would lose to Warnock, it’s quite clear that the former running back would have major challenges if he was the Republican nominee.

The worst thing for McConnell and his establishment Republican colleagues? They know it all. They just might not be able to stop it.

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Do religious Latinos vote Republican or Democrat? Mon, 23 Aug 2021 04:00:00 +0000

Anna Luna, a 32-year-old Mexican American who is running for the 13th Congressional District of Florida as a Republican, still remembers when she told her mother she would vote in 2016 for the GOP presidential candidate, Donald Trump.

Her mother was so upset – and loud – about her feelings that Luna had to hold the phone away from her ear. “She didn’t have it,” Luna recalls.

She added, laughing, that her mother had created a Facebook page called “Mothers of Daughters Who Voted Trump.”

Ever since Luna’s grandparents moved from Mexico to the United States – where Luna’s mother and father were born – the family have voted Democrats, as have the majority of Latinos, historically. But two generations later, young Luna makes her second attempt to make one of Florida’s congressional blue districts blush. In her first round, she lost to Democratic incumbent and former Florida governor Charlie Crist.

His story shows the intertwined religious and political changes in the Latino community that some say will resonate in American politics for decades to come. The data suggests that Latinos’ estrangement from the Democratic Party is propelled, in part, by a wider estrangement from Catholicism. While the fastest growing Latino religious group is not affiliated with any church, many of those leaving Catholicism are also turning to evangelism. And with this realignment of their faith comes a realignment of their political affiliation: Evangelism’s emphasis on a personal and unmediated relationship with God – independent of institutions – and individual rather than systemic responsibility is closely aligned with Republican thought. and conservative.

When asked if the GOP might be forced to move to the center to woo the Hispanic vote, Luna and others – including some Latino evangelical pastors – insist that the conservative agenda and values ​​of the Latino community are already the same. What is new, they argued, is that Latinos are starting to understand that the Republican Party offers many in their community a natural home.

“Latinos are waking up and they are finally realizing that our values ​​do not fit the Democrats’ platform,” Reverend Adianis Morales said. Associate pastor at an Orlando church, Reverend Morales has also served as the Latino Engagement Coordinator for Trump and Religious Initiatives Liaison for the Florida Republican Party.

She said when she arrived in Florida from Puerto Rico, she registered as a Democrat. Her decision, she said, was symptomatic of widespread “indoctrination” that tells us “because we are Hispanic, we are Democrats.” As she knocked on doors in central Florida during various campaigns, she added, she heard this idea repeated over and over again by Latino voters.

“But when you learn the platforms and see the differences between the platforms,” Reverend Morales said, “the Republican Party reflects our religious values ​​and beliefs.” Like most political conservatives, Latinos are particularly concerned about religious freedom, she said, as well as abortion and traditional marriage.

In this September 29, 2020 file photo, Eddie Collantes stands with an American flag draped around his shoulders as he attends a Debate Watch Party hosted by the Miami Young Republicans, Latinos for Trump and d ‘other groups in Miami.
Lynne Sladky, Associate Press

Faith and culture

While 2020 did not reveal a large Latino shift towards Trump, the former president garnered more support from Latino voters than he did in 2016. And the GOP made modest gains with Latino voters in Florida, Georgia and Texas, while then Democratic candidate Joe Biden received less Latino support in Ohio than Hillary Clinton in 2016.

The popularity of Republican candidates with evangelicals and a Latin American shift to Protestantism explain some of the party’s gains with this group. Luna, in some ways, embodies this change: Although she was born and baptized Catholic, her family attended Calvary Chapel, an evangelical denomination, when she was young. Today, Luna and her husband attend a Baptist church.

But Reverend Morales said the affinity for the Republican Party transcends religion and is rooted in deeply rooted cultural mores.

Even Latinos with no religious affiliation are widely opposed to abortion, she said. The data suggests that Latinos are slightly more conservative about abortion than white and black Americans, with people born in Latin America saying they are more opposed to abortion than Hispanics born in the United States. Latino millennials are widely opposed to abortion, with a majority of Catholics and Protestants saying it should be illegal, according to the Public Religion Research Institute.

Reverend Morales said religious freedom is important for Latin American families because they want the right to raise their children with certain faith-based values.

Reverend Morales and Luna spoke at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority conference in June, where the Latino presence was so strong that simultaneous English to Spanish translation was offered. Reverend Morales helped recruit the 500 Latino pastors who attended. And there were also speakers and panels that revolved around issues relevant to the Hispanic community – suggesting that Latino Republicans – especially those of faith – are indeed a force to be reckoned with.

But Reverend Gabriel Salguero, founder of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, said the issue of Hispanic evangelicals’ march towards the Republican Party is not so settled. Leading by example, he explained that a large number of Latinos identify as independent. Latino evangelicals, he said, are “the swing voters par excellence”, stressing that they represent the convergence of “two realities” in America: that of Latinos, who tend to vote Democrat, as well as evangelicals. , who lean for Republicans.

“George W. Bush has won the Hispanic evangelical vote every time he ran,” said Rev. Salguero, “Barack Obama has won the Hispanic evangelical vote every time he ran… we are not a monolith. “

He also stressed that Latinos are not one-question voters. Many – whether Catholic or Evangelical – have a pro-life stance that goes beyond abortion, cradle-to-grave and includes concerns such as poverty, prison reform, and affordable housing.

“We are at the crossroads of all kinds of social, immigration and economic issues,” Reverend Salguero said. “We think all of these things are priorities.”

Many Latinos are socially conservative but politically liberal and support the idea of ​​a social safety net. These Hispanic voters, he noted, might feel alienated from the Republican Party.

Still, he said, Republicans could have an advantage as they have aggressively pursued the Hispanic evangelical vote for “decades,” Reverend Salguero said.

“The Republican Party understood early on that the Hispanic evangelical vote was up for grabs,” he said, adding that conservative groups like the Faith and Freedom Coalition “did not start reaching out yesterday.”

Taken for granted

While Democrats still seem to have a lock on most Latino votes, political consultant Chuck Rocha – who was a senior advisor to Bernie Sanders – explained that the numbers could give the party a false sense of security. He cited Texas as an example: “You had places like Hidalgo County that show they are all registered Democrats… (and) 53,000 voters came forward and voted Republican.

Many of those voters who were registered for one party but voted for the other, he added, “had not voted for two cycles”.

Rocha said the last election was a “wake-up call” for Democrats who have long called Latino voters a “grassroots vote, not a persuasive vote.”

Evangelical Latinos like Reverend Morales are a much-hyped minority but don’t really represent the majority of Latino voters, Rocha said, acknowledging that the Democratic Party has work to do if it wants to keep Latino voters. To that end, he said, Democrats are already making unprecedented efforts to reach out to Latino voters ahead of the 2024 presidential election “by talking about what they’re doing to improve their lives.”

“The president and his super PACs are doing more work sooner than I’ve ever seen a president,” Rocha said.

He added that the concerns of Latino voters are not unique. They look a lot like working class whites. “Jobs, the economy, COVID relief, education – that’s what drives people right now,” he said. “Price of gas, price of bread. They are really worried that their children will not be able to go back to school because working class families have to find child care. “

Because the Latino demographics are young, Rocha said, with an average age younger than the white population, Democrats need to step up their game when it comes to communicating with Hispanic youth.

If they don’t, young Republicans like Luna may well beat Democrats to the fist.

While Luna’s candidacy for Congress for 2020 failed, garnering 47% of the vote against 53% for Crist, this time she is focusing her action on young Hispanics like herself as a strategy. With Crist stepping down to bid to be governor of Florida again, Luna’s chances of landing the vacant seat in 2022 look even better.

Young, tenacious and outspoken, his victory would be a coup d’etat reminiscent of Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – who in New York state held a seat in Congress held by a white man from his own party. Anna Paulina Luna, or APL as it’s sometimes called, would turn this neighborhood from blue to red.

And Luna, unlike AOC, is decidedly conservative.

While her mother still hasn’t got on the Trump train, Luna said coming to see her speak at political rallies opened her eyes for her mother and helped her expand her ideas about who is – and who can. to be – a Republican.

“She came to a few Turning Point events,” Luna said, referring to the grassroots conservative organization, “and saw that there were women and men and black and white and Hispanics.… And she obviously knew that I was not a white supremacist.

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Opinion: With lies and cynicism, Republicans plot an authoritarian regime | Column Sun, 22 Aug 2021 19:00:00 +0000

At a rally at the State Capitol on August 6, signs called for a full forensic audit of the 2020 presidential election.

By Jeffrey Leverich | guest column

California winds blow on my porch. The drought in Canada has reduced cities in British Columbia to ashes as ranchers lost herds in Alberta. There is not enough hay. Vast swathes of Greece, Turkey and Siberia are burning.

In Germany and China, 500-year-old floods have drowned history, homes, villages and lives. Islamabad, Pakistan, has experienced severe flooding, but some population centers do not receive much media coverage.

The pandemic is reappearing in the United States, the result of a political policy on the brink of collapse. Lies about the hugely successful vaccines are divisive, as is the political sabotage of medical efforts to protect Americans.

Vaccine plotters and mask deniers have spread COVID-19 to millions of families, causing them damage and death, but these Americans also have the right to life and freedom. The constant rat-a-tat of political attacks offers no solution to the multitude of existential threats. The right wing fails to solve the problems, which instead become the object of cheap political postures. Politics for them is an endless series of senseless messages and disparagement.

By perpetuating the global pandemic, Republicans have lost all right to moral authority, which has always been a sham. By blocking reforms to protect human life, they have thrown our country off balance. Strange policies are killing families, undermining our nation’s stability, and threatening the future of humanity with climate change denial. This burning indictment is only overcome by their efforts to overthrow American democracy.

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Diane Allen courts Trump supporters on campaign as NJ Republican running mate Jack Ciattarelli Sun, 22 Aug 2021 09:05:30 +0000

In a New Jersey farming setting that included the barn where she learned to milk cows as a child, Diane Allen spoke out against high taxes, closed businesses and long lines at the motor vehicle commission . She touted her story as a state senator who championed women’s rights. And she remembered her first run for public office – a campaign she lost.

“They told me I didn’t know how to play the game,” Allen, 73, told supporters at a Burlington County farm earlier this month during his nomination as the Republican candidate for the post of lieutenant governor. “I still don’t know how to do this, and I don’t want to know it.”

As GOP gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli seeks to overthrow Governor Phil Murphy in November – in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans by a million – adding Allen to the ticket could be a way to attract centrist voters more inclined to vote Republican now that Donald Trump has left the White House. She represented a Democratic-leaning district for two decades, was known to work across the aisle, and never expressed her full support for Trump.

“The way people decide to vote for you is on a personal level,” said Allen, who retired from Trenton in 2018, in an interview earlier this month. “Not just the words you say, but the way you support them. … I’ve always thought that party politics shouldn’t be the most important thing.

But days after joining the ticket, she said in a radio interview that she voted for Trump because she feared Joe Biden would “tear this country apart,” citing undocumented immigrants spreading COVID-19 as something something she feared.

“Right now I’m watching all these people with COVID crossing the border, and that scares me,” Allen said on the New Jersey Globe Power Hour on Talk Radio 77 WABC. “They are put on buses. I suspect some of them are coming to New Jersey – not a good idea. Whether the people who are being driven from the border carrying illegal guns, or drugs, or whatever. So there are a lot of things happening that I didn’t want to see continue, and that’s why I voted for Trump.

READ MORE: Diane Allen, former lawmaker and presenter for Philly, to be GOP candidate for lieutenant governor of NJ

Democrats and Latino groups condemned his comments as racist, and Senator Bob Menendez (D., NJ) used them in a fundraising email, claiming that Allen “seeks to demonize Hispanics and stir up the fear”. Murphy, who has previously praised Allen’s political career, called the comments “tin foil hat stuff.”

Public health experts say there is no evidence that undocumented migrants are significantly drive the spread of the coronavirus.

In the same radio interview, Allen said she wanted to look at the state’s concealed gun laws, adding that when public shootings happen in states like Texas, “there’s usually someone there. who has a gun that can take them out. “

Speak to The Inquirer again Allen last week said it was wrong to interpret her comments as a signal to the far right and said she did not blame immigrants for the ongoing pandemic. She said the virus is only part of her larger concern about border security.

“Our government is doing a bad job in the face of this,” she said. “I was afraid that [Biden] was not going to be able to run the country. And this is what is happening.

She added that while she finds Trump “personally disgusting,” she believes the border would be under control if he was in office.

State Senator Loretta Weinberg, Democratic Majority Leader who has worked with Allen for years, described her as “accomplished, intelligent and sophisticated,” a key ally in passing legislation. She was surprised by Allen’s comments, as she couldn’t remember them ever talking about guns or immigration.

“Coming out of the gate with concealed weapons was confusing,” Weinberg noted. “Talking about the spread of COVID by immigrants was also confusing. I almost had this feeling of ‘What did you do with Diane Allen?’ “

Bill Palatucci, one of New Jersey’s top Republicans and longtime adviser to former Governor Chris Christie, called Allen a “victim of modern media and reporting.”

“She has held 1,000 positions and accomplishments throughout her distinguished career and you want to focus on a couple of instances where her views now more closely match the party candidate,” he said in an email. . “Voters will focus on and be interested in his full experience and comprehensive record of public service.”

If Murphy won a second term, he would be the first Democratic governor of New Jersey in decades to be re-elected. It is widely regarded as the frontrunner, backed by voter approval for his pandemic response and a growing Democratic enrollment advantage. A poll last week found him 16 percentage points ahead, with Ciattarelli and Allen still largely unknown to voters.

Ciattarelli, a former member of the assembly who also had a reputation as a moderate in Trenton, prevailed over two other pro-Trump candidates in the June primary. Like Allen, he has been accused of making inflammatory comments to appeal to Trump’s staunchest supporters.

He pledged in June to cancel the LGBTQ program in schools, according to images obtained by Gothamist and WNYC radio, saying that under his leadership, “we are not teaching gender identity and sexual orientation to children. kindergarten children. We don’t teach sodomy in sixth grade.

When advocates called the comments offensive and anti-gay, Ciattarelli said he only meant that parents, not schools, should decide when their children learn “mature content.” Allen, one of two senators to cross party lines to support same-sex marriage in 2012, agrees.

Allen, who also worked as a Philadelphia TV reporter, is perhaps best known for her work on a law that protects women from pay discrimination. Murphy signed the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act in 2018. The bill grew out of Allen’s own experience being paid less than his male counterparts as a journalist.

Allen said she came out of retirement because she was troubled by what she sees as crumbling utilities and an unsustainable cost of living. She had worked with Ciattarelli for over a year as a campaign consultant before he asked her to become a candidate, and they share the same political goals. Both focused on high taxes, a perennial campaign problem in New Jersey, and criticism of Murphy’s handling of the pandemic – particularly business closures and the high rate of death in nursing homes. nurses.

“I always think I have something left to give,” she said. “I think I can still help improve this condition.”

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Democrats, Governor Cooper, and more respond to NC House Republican state budget plan Wed, 11 Aug 2021 06:29:39 +0000

RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) – Gov. Roy Cooper (D) said Tuesday he believed the North Carolina budget proposal unveiled this week by Republicans in the House of Representatives was an improvement over the version passed by the Senate, but added “that doesn’t make it good.”

House Republicans have called for tax cuts, higher wages for state employees and various policy changes, which some Democrats say they will oppose.

“While there are positives, among the many changes we need include expanding Medicaid, much greater investment in quality education and child care, stopping corporate tax breaks and the elimination of devious and damaging policy changes to public education, women’s health choices, environmental safeguards, and emergency authority to fight the pandemic, ”Cooper said in a statement.

House lawmakers spent several hours in committee Tuesday reviewing details of the budget and debating amendments. Republican leaders aim to pass a budget by Thursday.

At this point, they would have to reconcile the differences with the Republican-controlled Senate and with Governor Cooper.

Beyond the financial impacts of the budget, including the amount to be paid for civil servants, it proposes changes that have an impact on the way teachers do their jobs and on the power of the governor to act in case emergency.

Representative Susan Fisher (D-Buncombe) expressed concerns on Tuesday about some of the changes in education policy, including a requirement that schools post online for people to view. This includes lesson plans.

School boards should also set up a “media advisory committee” to hear complaints from those who wish to challenge these documents as “unfit.”

It comes amid the debate over critical race theory and as Republicans have tried to pass bills limiting how it is taught in classrooms.

“I think this is a dangerous trail to follow,” Fisher said. “It makes parents and everyone else in the neighborhood decide to show up, even though they don’t have kids in schools, and say we don’t agree with the program you’re teaching. “

Fisher said such provisions should not be in the state budget, but in other laws. The House passed a bill earlier this year calling for these changes, but the Senate did not act on it.

Rep. John Torbett (R-Gaston) said: “Simply put, this is what we have been doing for many years in the past.”

“(Parents) want to have the authority, which they should as a parent, to know what their child is being taught. So it just gives access to those materials, ”he said.

The House budget plan also includes several changes educators wanted, including salary increases, reinstating higher pay for teachers with master’s degrees, and eliminating the requirement for teachers to pay. $ 50 to hire a replacement when they take a personal day.

“The budget proposal released by the House (Monday) represents a cautious step forward for North Carolina public school students after years of decline. Investments in school counselors, school construction and pay equity for seasoned educators all demonstrate a good faith commitment to the well-being of our educators, students and their families, ”said Tamika Walker Kelly, president of the North Carolina Association of Educators.

Teachers would get increases of 5.5% on average over two years under the House plan, while most state employees would get 5%.

“The budget of the House – it is better than what the Senate proposed. However, some improvements still need to be made, ”said Resha Forston, a lobbyist for the State Employees Association of North Carolina.

While retirees would get an extra 2 percent each year, Forston said they would have to get a permanent cost-of-living adjustment.

The budget would also put limits on Governor Cooper’s emergency powers, Atty’s ability. General Josh Stein (R) to initiate certain prosecutions and for the National Council of Elections to be able to resolve the prosecutions. Republicans have been trying to pass legislation on this since the board settled a case last year affecting the rules of the 2020 election.

“We are responding to voters we hear on both sides of this question about the strength of those powers. Should a man be in control? Said Representative Torbett.

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